Job Boards Are Alive & Kicking

As a recruiter the first port of call when looking to find or attract talent is often job boards and I believe that in most situations this should still be the case. This is supported by a recent survey publicised by the International Association of Employment Web Sites and reported on by which suggests job boards are still the largest contributor to people finding new jobs.

This is because if a person is actively looking for a new job they are likely to still visit job boards and providing you have selected the right job board then they will still at least see your advert.

In this circumstance your success as a recruiter largely comes down to how well you can make your advert stand out. Good ways of doing this include adding video, paying to have your branding made more visible and ensuring your advert shows the applicant how your company can help them achieve their goals, rather than a just list of what you are seeking.

Behaviour of Top Talent

The same survey also highlighted that although job boards remain the most effective source of new employment opportunities, their impact has significantly declined.

As recruiters we are generally tasked with finding the top tier of talent, it is my belief that this demographic are primarily responsible for the decline in job board effectiveness.  

This is because, whilst job boards are great if someone is actively seeking a new role, in today’s talent-short markets, good candidates are rarely openly active. Instead they hear about jobs through recruitment agencies or referrals (both of which are shown in the IAEWS survey to have had an increased impact on job moves), before they have even thought about starting to search for a new role.

Fewer in-demand candidates looking at job boards creates a problem for most recruiters; how to get jobs or an employment brand in front of the desired candidate audience?

Attracting Top Talent

As a recruiter (agency or in-house) sourcing is the other significant method for getting your jobs to your candidate audience. Online sourcing supplements more traditional channels such as offline networking and company databases.

Whilst all sourcing channels can be very effective, they all remain reliant on one-on-one contact. When compared to job board advertising, this is a very time intensive process, even for the best recruiters.

Consumer Marketing

We have all been exposed to consumer marketing in one form or another, this is because it reaches us on the channels that we are using on a day-to-day basis, such as the example below on Spotify (I highly recommend this soundtrack by the way).

Consumer Job Marketing

The good news is that these consumer channels can also be effectively utilised to promote employment brands and job opportunities.

Using these marketing channels has several major advantages over job boards: they can reach people irrelevant of their job search status, target very specific audience demographics and be paid for based on campaign performance.

To successfully leverage consumer marketing it is important to take into account the following:

Audience Analysis

This is the most important part of any marketing project. Without a detailed understanding of your audience demographics, everything else will be purely based on pot-luck. According to demographics are normally broken down by: age, race, religion, gender, family size, ethnicity, income, and education.

Once you have a clear idea of your audience demographics identifying this groups’ typical interests, hobbies and social activities helps to further refine your marketing approach.

Marketing Channels

There are a broad range of online marketing channels available including: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Spotify, Pandora, Adwords, Website Banner Adverts, audience re-targeting and Industry Blogs.

Your audience analysis will help to deduce which of these channels are best suited for your specific job marketing campaign.

Focus on those platforms where your audience is not just registered but also regularly active. For example the campaign below targeted Sonographers, but even though there are plenty of Sonographers on LinkedIn, research showed that the desired demographic where significantly more active on Facebook, therefore more likely to see and engage with the advert.

Marketing Content

Once you know your audience channels, you’ll then need to ensure you know how to get the most out of each. This includes knowing how to use the various advertising platforms, but more crucially the type of content that is likely to work best. Often content that works on platform will fail on another.

Unlike traditional job adverts nearly every online marketing channel will perform better if you include either visual or video content alongside text. Therefore having access to graphic design, video production and animation facilities is helpful. 


Getting your timing right can be the difference between success and failure. For example Adweek suggests Business to Consumer marketing campaigns will experience a 17% increase in engagement at the weekends.

In the example below this mock campaign, targeted to a specific Twitter Hashtag, would have only worked on the days on which the NZSOMO conference was being held. Outside of these dates it is unlikely there would be many people following this hashtag.

Landing Page

If you have ever click an online advert you will likely have been taken to a page designed to convert your interest into a sale or to capture your details. Consumer job marketing is no different, whilst a job advertisement can perform this function, they are often the weak link.

This is due to most job pages being text heavy content that also requires a significant amount of user information in order to apply. Worse a lot of careers or jobs pages aren’t geared for mobile users, which is an ever growing proportion of social media users.

Lastly good landing pages allow recruiters to track campaign performance in detail. This includes the number of visitors and conversions from each marketing channel.


Consumer job marketing isn’t a new concept, I recently noticed this recruitment advert on The Imitation Game. The job was marketed in a national newspaper, which in the 1940’s would have been almost exclusively limited to consumer marketing. By the 1980’s newspaper recruitment advertising had become common place.

Using online digital and social consumer marketing channels for recruitment advertising is no different. In 5 years’ time I expect we will regularly see job advertisements appearing in areas where we currently see adverts for cars or banking products.


Chris South

Chris has been fortunate enough to spend considerable time getting to know the inner workings of three very different recruitment sectors in two equally different countries.

Most recently, whilst recruiting high-end oil and gas roles Texas, Chris was exposed to one of the most challenging labour markets in the world. The sourcing solutions he learnt to apply were far ahead of those that he had previously been exposed to in New Zealand.

On returning to New Zealand he established Prominence with the objective of sharing these insights with the local recruitment marketplace. Although always a recruiter at heart, Chris now considers himself to primarily be a marketer, consulting and actively speaking about a wide range of social recruitment techniques and the use of online media for marketing purposes.

Chris can be found on Twitter @findsouth or as one of the writers on the Prominence Blog

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